Reason Foundation Is Not libertarian; for Shame

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We all know that Reason Magazine is anti libertarian. Their editor Katherine Mangu-Ward infamously rolled her eyes at even the outside possibility that Ron Paul could become the next president of the U.S. Of course, she was not merely prognosticating; she was actively attempting to undermine his chances. (When commentators talk about the chances of this horse or that one winning the race, they do not at all affect the outcome; matters are very different in these sorts of cases). Did Mangu-Ward get fired for her anti libertarian act? Of course not. But everyone knows about this act of treason against the free society.

Lesser known, perhaps, is a recent foray in public policy analysis (well, not so recent — 3/31/11, but I just ran into it) by Robert W. Poole Jr., director of transportation policy at the Reason Foundation. In his “Opposing view: Fast train to nowhere,” which appeared in USA today, he counsels against government investment in high-speed rail lines. All well and good. But he does not do so on the ground that the state should leave all such decisions to the private market. No, instead, he discusses such things as costs, population density, competition from air and automobile traffic, taxes, etc. In other words, this editorial of his which reaches millions of people, doesn’t have a scintilla of libertarianism in it. It could have been written by any mainstream urban analyst. For shame. When Reason was started many years ago, its leaders were libertarians, who were trying to promote liberty. Not so any more, it would appear. And, yet, there are libertarians who donate money in support of this organization. Go figure.

11:22 am on October 9, 2011